In our last blog post, we talked about why you should have a blog. Now, we’re going to tell you how to put a successful blog post together.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know, from where to find great copyright free images to how many characters your blog title should be.
Buckle up: it’s about to get meta.
No pressure, but your title is one of the most important parts of your blog post.
From an SEO perspective: your title plays a significant role in Google’s indexing process. Google uses your title to figure out what your post is about.
From a human perspective: you’ll only have a potential reader’s attention for a few seconds. It’s important to have an attention-grabbing headline to draw them in.
So, how do you come up with a great blog title?
Step 1: Mind Map Topics
Throwing ideas down on the page is a great place to start. Narrow that down to a specific topic that you’re interested in and want to explore. Once you know which topic you want to cover, come up with a unique angle on that topic.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Think of possible search terms people will use to find the content in your blog. This could be individual keywords (like ‘blog’) or longtail keywords (like ‘best blogging tips’).
Open Google and use the search bar to find related and suggested search terms. This will show you what other people are looking for – and give you ideas about which search terms you could target.
If you want to take your keyword research up a notch, you can use free keyword tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to assess the quality of your keywords by finding out the search volume and ranking difficulty.
You should aim for a keyword with a high search volume and low competition. Bear in mind that most of the big keywords in your industry will probably already have thousands of search results. If this is the case, try to target a keyword with slightly lower search volume and low competition.
You might have more success with longtail keywords, since they’re more specific.
Step 3: Title
Incorporate you best keyword into your title.
Try to keep your title to 60 characters or fewer: any more than that, and there’s a chance your title will be cut off part way through in the SERP.
If you were looking for the best ice cream places in Manchester, which search result would you be most likely to click on?
Probably the top one, right?
There are a few reasons why the top result is more likely to receive clicks than the one underneath: the inclusion of relevant keywords and the number in the title to name a couple.
But in addition to that, the length of the title plays a role here. The second result has been interrupted part way through because the title tag is too long, and this makes it less clear to the searcher what the result is about.
Title tags under 60 characters are more likely to receive clicks. This is a simple (and important) thing to get right. Somewhere between 50-60 characters is the sweet spot.
A meta description is the brief description you see on the SERP to preview what the page is about, highlighted here in red:
It acts like a summary and can be used to give potential website visitors more info about what your webpage will offer them.
Meta descriptions are usually best kept to around 155 characters.
You’ll want a relevant, eye-catching image to sit at the top of your blog post.
Steer clear of using copyrighted images; you can land yourself in trouble if you’re using pictures that don’t belong to you.
If you’re looking for some pictures to add to your page, try using copyright free libraries like Pexels or Pixabay. They’re mostly free to use, just make sure to comply with their usage terms (you might be required to give credit in the footer of your blog page, for instance).
This is where you lay out the topic and tone of your blog post.
In general, people gravitate towards writing that feels casual, informative, and not too stuffy or pretentious.
Try to hook your reader with a catchy first line. Give a brief indication of the topics you’ll cover and try not to drone on for too long – no one wants to read a wall of text, so keep it interesting but brief. Around 100 words is ideal.
Attention spans are dwindling, and most website users don’t pay that much attention to what’s below the fold.
Content above the fold receives the most attention by far, with website users spending about 74% of their time on the top two screenfuls of content. The remaining 26% of their time on the page is spent in small increments further down the page.
What does this tell us?
People skim more than they read.
Subheadings give your reader anchor points within the text that allow them to scan for the information they’re looking for – and this keeps them on the page and engaged for longer.
From a human perspective, subheadings break up the page, make your blog post less intimidating to read, and improve user experience.
From an SEO perspective, making use of subheadings helps Google to better understand your content. Google places more weight on the title and subheadings in your post than regular body text, so subheadings are a perfect spot to place those keyword variations.
Subheadings should make use of H tags (H2, H3, H4 etc). Keep in mind that H1 is always reserved for your title.
At this point, you’ve done the window dressing and you’ve secured the click – now you need to impress your website user with well-researched, unique, informative and engaging content.
Read also: Content Writing Tips for Beginners
Some basic things to remember:
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short so that you don’t overwhelm the reader.
- Adding in some bold text or italics can help keep a reader engaged – just don’t overdo it.
- Bullet points are great ways to organise information on the page – like this!
- Proofread, proofread, and proofread again.
If you’re planning on using AI to bump up your word count, be careful to monitor the quality of the writing and make sure to fact-check everything. Google cares about the quality of content, so if you’re padding out your blog with filler from AI writers, this could hurt more than help if you don’t have a thorough quality screening process in place.
And bear in mind that people love to see a human touch! Anecdotes, humour, and witty writing will allow you to connect with your readers in a genuine way.
As for word count, anything over 1000 words is great, but try not to stress too much about this figure; a short blog is better than no blog. If you happen to be having a particularly loquacious day, shoot for 1500 words of quality content.
Data and Stats
Backing up your claims with stats goes a long way towards gaining trust and authority. Where appropriate, try to find reputable, trustworthy and recent sources of information.
Use the numerical value in your writing; instead of writing Five Top Ice Cream Spots, write 5 Top Ice Cream Spots.
Remember what we said about short attention spans?
To keep readers engaged, add in multimedia elements like photos, videos, audio and social media posts.
You don’t have to be a master of photography to include these elements; you can use copyright-free libraries like we mentioned above.
A short outro will tie off the article in a satisfying way. You don’t need to make this too long, just make sure there’s some sort of narrative conclusion to your post.
Always finish off with a relevant call to action.
This is where you encourage your reader to check out a product on your website, ask them to email you, or link them to another relevant blog post.
(Here’s our conclusion and CTA for this blog post …)
Blog writing can be fun, but it’s also time-consuming. If you’re looking for some content marketing assistance, reach out to us today!
So, now that you’re an expert in what makes a good blog post – how did we do?